Wellesley Institute

Summer Institute at Wellesley College

Time and Place

Wellesley College, Wellesley, Massachussetts

Event Details

Downloads: Institute Handbook | Institute Report

Wellesley College in Massachusetts hosted the first Women in Public Service Project Institute for two weeks, June 11-22, 2012. The pilot institute brought together 50 emerging women leaders from across the globe between the ages of 25-45 who are already serving in different fields of public service and/or political or elected office.

The institute provided a forum for shared learning and dialogue, eschange of experiences and expertise, and peer-to-peer networking, and build an important platform for cross-fertilization of knowledge and innovative leadership skills. Since the institute was launched a year from the defining events of the Arab Spring, it acknowledged the uniqueness of this historical moment by including a particularly strong cohort from the Middle East and North Africa regions (MENA) as well as from other countries undergoing political and social transformations. 

The innovative curriculum was developed by Dr. Rangita de Silva de Alwis, the Director of Women in Public Service Project’s 2012 Institute. The Wilson Center and WPSP leaders announced during the closing ceremonies that Dr. Summer Institute at Wellesley Collegede Silva de Alwis has been appointed the Director of Women’s Leadership Initiatives at the Wilson Center. Dr. de Silva de Alwis has been the Director of International Human Rights Policy at the Wellesley Centers for Women (WCW) at Wellesley College and has led projects on women’s rights issues in China, regional law reform in Asia, and the Women’s Leadership Network: Women’s Political, Public, and Economic Participation in the Muslim World.



“Young women leaders from around the world need to build networks, to share ideas, experiences, strategies and skills with each other. This summer institute will provide a powerful crucible for this exchange.”

~ Melanne Verveer



WPSP Summer Institute Planning Committee:

  • Michael Allen, Professor of Political Science, Bryn Mawr Collge
  • Victoria Budson, Executive Director of Harvard Kennedy School’s Women and Public Policy Program
  • Henrietta Holsman Fore, CEO, Holsman International
  • Laura Bloomberg, Ctr. for Integrative Leadership, University of Minnesota
  • Shireen Chengadu, Academic Director Gordon Institute of Business Science
  • Vishakha Desai, President, Asia Society
  • Vincent A Ferraro, Ruth Lawson Professor of Politics, Mount Holyoke College
  • Suzanne George, Principal, Albright Stonebridge Group
  • Carol Lancaster, Dean, School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University
  • Kimberly Marten, Professor of Political Science, Barnard College
  • Pat Mitchell, President and CEO, The Paley Center for Media
  • Iris Newalu, Director of Executive Education, Smith College
  • Deborah Winslow Nutter, Senior Associate Dean, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University
  • Rangita de Silva de Alwis, Faculty Director, 2012 Summer Institute, Wellesley College
  • Michele J. Sison, United States Ambassador
  • Mona Sutphen, Former Deputy White House Chief of Staff for Policy
  • Juree Vichit-Vadakan, member of the National Legislative Assembly of Thailand
  • Kaniya Wignaraja, UNDP Resident Coordinator to Zambia
  • Saadia Zahidi, Senior Director, World Economic Forum
  • Kavita Ramdas, Senior Advisor, Global Fund for Women, Chair

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